Faithlife Sermons

A Tale of Two Servants, Parts 1 & 2 - Nov. 14th, 2021

Breaking Bread with Barnabas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:11:32
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Believe Christ’s Words: be faithful, wise, & blessed. Remain in unbelief: be foolish, self-serving & perish.

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Pre-Introduction: At this time, we invite any children who desire to join my dear wife for a children’s service to follow her where you can hear a wonderful bible lesson and sing some uplifting songs about Jesus. For those joining us online, you’re listening to the joint Services of the First Baptist Church of Westminster. This is Co-Pastor Walker bringing the Sunday Morning message entitled “A Tale of Two Servants.” We invite you to follow along with us in your Bible in the Book of Matthew, chapter 24, and verses 43-51.

Introduction:

[Start Low]
Matthew 24:43–51 KJV 1900
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
A. Get Attention - Striking Statement:
Title = misnomer. Should be “A Tale of One Servant with Two Possible Destinies”
OR “Choose Right or Lose Big-Time”
B. Raise Need - Illustration:
Is your eternal destiny secure? Are you living for Jesus, or yourself? There’s only two choices on the shelf . . .
C. State Purpose-
MO - Consecrative/Doctrinal
SO - I want my hearers to understand the importance of eternal destiny and decide to believe and serve Jesus and His people in love rather than dismiss His words and face eternal torment.
D. Orient Theme-
Theme - The Tale of One Servant with Two Possible Destinies:
Thrust -
The faithful & wise receives eternal reward (vv. 43-47)
The foolish incurs judgment & eternal punishment (vv. 48-51)
Main Thought:
Believe Christ’s Words: be faithful, wise, & blessed
Remain in unbelief: be foolish, self-serving & perish
Sub-introduction:
Immediate context: signs leading up to the consummation of all things and Christ’s return in power and great glory; deceivers, persecution, birth pangs, tribulation, antichrist, abomination of desolation, fulfilled prophecies, Daniel, great tribulation and the time of Jacob’s Trouble, false messiahs and false prophets, lightenings, thunderings, earthquakes, signs in the heavens and on the earth, cosmic shakings, the nations in mourning, the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, the great harvest at the end of time; then Jesus illustrates and applies His doctrine with various parables, of the Fig Tree, of the certainty of His coming but the uncertainty of its timing, of the characteristics of the end times as were the days of Noe, and of the suddenness of judgment to come on the inhabitants of earth, some will be taken away in judgment, and others will remain to enter His Kingdom, which brings us now to a series of more parables, two of which we will look at today, that of the Goodman, and then of the Slave with Two Possible Destinies.
Body:

I. The Faithful & Wise Servant (Matt. 24:43-47)

[Go Slow]

A. Is Ready (Matt. 24:43-44)

1. The Parable of the Goodman (v. 43)

Matthew 24:43 KJV 1900
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
“but” - adversative
“if” - 2nd class (contrary-to-fact)
“know this” - imperative
“goodman” - house + despot “husband” or “homeowner”; 2nd amendment
“watch” - v. 42
“broken up” - digged through

2. The Principle: Be Prepared (v. 44)

Matthew 24:44 KJV 1900
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Illustration: “Prepare to meet thy God.” “Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44).
I heard a minister tell how he as a boy tried hard to weigh one hundred pounds. He could weigh ninety-five and ninety-six but he could not reach the coveted hundred mark. One day he stepped on the scales and, to his astonishment, went way over the mark. He gave a yell of triumph, but just then he heard a chuckle behind him and looked around to discover that his older brother had put a big foot on the scales.
I know something better than that. God had a mark that I could not reach, but my Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, did not merely add His weight to mine; He put Himself in my place and God reckons me righteous in Him, because as a convicted sinner I received Him as my Saviour and rest in His finished work and perfect righteousness. So it is He Who is coming Who prepares me for His coming. In the Christ Who came I am ready for the Christ Who will come.
[Dennis J. Hester, ed., The Vance Havner Notebook: Sermon Excerpts and Illustrations (Baker Book House, 1989), 107–108.]
“therefore” - inferential, emphatic
“be ye ready” - imperative
Ready to die:—A ship in a port, with all its provisions and sails and men on board, is in one sense of the word, “ready”—ready for sea; but it may not be “ready” in the sense this text enjoins. Its sails must be in their places, its anchor must be up, every man must be at his post: then it is actually ready for the ocean and its storms. Let the command come, and in a minute or two it is disengaged from the fastenings that held it, lies down to the breeze, and without hurry or alarm is gone. And this is the readiness our Lord has here in His mind—a state of actual readiness, preparedness of mind and heart. (C. Bradley.)
[Exell, Bib. Ill.]
“for” - causal
“cometh” - futuristic present stressing certainty
Quote - “Spiritual ‘readiness’ is the stepchild of vigilance.” ~ Grant Osborne
Illustration: BE READY
Be ye also ready.… Matthew 24:44.
Not only ready for His coming or ready to die but ready for anything—ready to give an answer for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15), ready to preach the Gospel (Romans 1:15). The Christian should live in a state of constant readiness to live or die, to spend or be spent. Ready to die and therefore ready to live. Ready to live and therefore ready to die. Paul had only two days on his calendar, “Today” and “That day.” The Christian who is right and rich and radiant is ready, come what may!
[Vance Havner, All the Days (Fleming H. Revell Company, 1976), 28.]

B. Is Reliable (Matt. 24:45-46)

1. Be a Burden-Bearer (v. 45)

Matthew 24:45 KJV 1900
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
“Who then” - rhetorical
“faithful” - attribute of being trusted
“wise” - word order gives greater weight
“household” - TR therapeias - CT inferior oiketeia; emphasis on nourishing at a prescribed time (i.e. like a nurse administering on a schedule); consider Noah providing for the 7 who would feed the entire Ark of animals (800+ animals per person).
“to give” - purpose
“meat” - provisions
“due season” - prescribed and proper timing

2. Be Blessed (v. 46)

Matthew 24:46 KJV 1900
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
“blessed” - makarios - Beatitude
“servant” - doulos - slave
“his lord” - subordination
“shall find” - eureka
“so doing” - as he was assigned

C. Will Be Richly Rewarded (Matt. 24:47)

Matthew 24:47 KJV 1900
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
“Verily” - amen
“make him ruler” - cause him to stand over
“all his goods” - everything the Master possesses; inheritance
Application:
Have you enlisted yet? Are you Christ’s? If you have believed on Him, then you have been redeemed, and purchased with His blood. He then owns you, and as the hymn writer put, “Oh Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, for Thou in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me! I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne, my life I give henceforth to live, O Christ for Thee alone.”
I believe this verse (47) is the crux of Jesus’ teaching in this passage, it looks forward to the day in His Millennial Reign when He will appoint His faithful over the Kingdom to “rule with a rod of iron” with Him.
Quote - “The promotion God gives is not like earthly promotion, wherein the eminence of one excludes that of another—but rather like the diffusion of love in which the more each has, the more there is for all.” ~ D. L. Moody
Transition:
If Jesus was Joel Osteen, He might have ended His words here, but notice He goes on to describe,

II. The Foolish Servant (Matt. 24:48-51)

[Climb Higher]

A. Is Sinful & Self-Serving (Matt. 24:48-49)

1. Cause: Unbelief (v. 48)

Matthew 24:48 KJV 1900
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
“But and” - adversative contrasting the foolish with the wise
“if” - 3rd class future potentiality - hypothetical - assumption of truth for the sake of argument
“that” - explain why this refers to unbelieving Israel
“evil” - sense is harmful or damaging
“shall say in his heart” - causative force = thoughts —> actions
“My lord” - subordination
“delayeth” - eth = Progressive Descriptive ongoing action; consider Peter’s scoffers “where is the sign of His coming… all things continue as they are now”
Illustration: The spirit which leads to disaster is the spirit which says there is plenty of time. It is the comfortable delusion of the servant that he will have plenty of time to put things to rights before his master returns.
There is a fable which tells of three apprentice devils who were coming to this earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils, about their plans to tempt and ruin men and women. The first said: ‘I will tell them there is no God.’ Satan said: ‘That will not delude many, for they know that there is a God.’ The second said: ‘I will tell them there is no hell.’ Satan answered: ‘You will deceive no one that way; they know even now that there is a hell for sin.’ The third said: ‘I will tell them there is no hurry.’ ‘Go,’ said Satan, ‘and you will ruin them by the thousand.’ The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time. The most dangerous day of our lives is when we learn that there is such a word as tomorrow. There are things which must not be put off, for none of us knows if for us tomorrow will ever come.
[William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Third Ed., The New Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2001), 370.]

2. Effect: Self-Serving Abuse (v. 29)

Matthew 24:49 KJV 1900
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
Notice Jesus’ association of alcohol with abuse
“And” - contrast - harsh treatment of peers w/ his own self-indulgence
“begin” - signifies a change after time
“to smite” - abusive nature towards his fellow-servants (equals)
“with the drunken” - association
Quote - “Unkindness to the Lord’s people, and fellowship with the ungodly, are two great marks of hypocrites.” ~ D. L. Moody

B. Will Suffer for Eternity in Punishment (Matt. 24:50-51)

[Take Fire]

1. His Surprise: Unexpected Coming (v. 50)

Matthew 24:50 KJV 1900
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
“The lord” - asyndeton
“of that servant” - subordination; contrast with an unfavorable connotation
“shall come” - predictive future - certain; unexpected surprise

2. His Separation: Unparalleled Torment (v. 51)

Matthew 24:51 KJV 1900
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“shall cut him asunder” - Eng. - Dichotomy - e.g. capitol punishment for dereliction of duty and harmful abuse of his peers; “of the dismemberment of a condemned person” [BDAG];
Illustration: consider the apocryphal account of Susanna as illustrative of Jesus’ sentiments; just as Daniel brought justice to Susanna, so the Son of Man will bring justice upon lustful self-serving sinful religious leaders; Esp. vv. 55, 59; Notice that this story is connected with Daniel (see context of Mt. 24) and speaks of lustful abuse by those who were charged with eldership in Judah, but were given to false accusation as threats to abuse the innocence of another man's wife on their own unfulfilled lusts, twisting the good law of the Lord into their own tool of iniquity, and were culpable of the most heinous treachery thereby receiving damnation to capitol punishment for the abuse of their vested office. Though not scripture, still a fitting illustration for driving home the point of Jesus' parable. Daniel the faithful and wise steward (albeit born an "elder" out of due time) and they the unfaithful and unwise stewards doomed to destruction by their lustful sin. Morals - God vindicates the innocent righteous; be sure your sin will find you out. Susanna was willing to be "faithful unto death" and was "saved" in the end by the very prophet who told of the "Son of Man."
“appoint” - from tithemi - arrange…ordain [BDAG]
“his” - Destination/Direction
“portion” - meros - part; cf Rev. 22:19; inheritance
Revelation 22:19 KJV 1900
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
“with the hypocrites” - consider ch. 23 - “Woe”; strengthens argument for the dereliction of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who will die in their sins because of their unbelief (see John 8)
“weeping and gnashing” - qualitative
Application:
“There are three messages here. (1) Jesus is going to return, and that return will be unexpected. (2) Every believer is responsible to be ready at all times, for we will all be held accountable for the way we live. (3) There will be severe judgment for those who live for themselves and refuse to serve others.” [Osborne, ZECNT]
The pleasure of sin is but for a season. Those laughing now will be weeping then, and “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
When Jesus spoke these words, there were but two ways to go: first, like those disciples who believed, and gladly received His words, left everything and followed Him over the mountains as well as through the valleys. They became knitted together as the household of faith, and learned to love the brethren and serve as Jesus had given the example; second, like those stiffnecked, rebellious self-serving religious leaders whom Jesus condemned for turning His Father’s House of prayer into their den of thieves.
Upon the latter Jesus promises He will one day come like a thief, that is, in such an unexpected fashion that there will be no time to set in order the great wrongs that those who were entrusted with authority had perpetrated on God’s dear people and all for their own fleeting gains.
The religious establishment rightly felt threatened by Jesus, and in their intimidation railed on Him, killing an innocence man in cold blooded murder. Yet, despite all their wickedness, God in heaven sought fit to confound their plans, which were born of the pits of hell itself, and on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, was seen of many and confirmed God’s plans and purposes for our redemption before the clouds received Him out of their sight.
This same Jesus will one day come again, and when He does, that faithless and perverse generation that nailed the Son of God to the cross will look upon Him whom they pierced, and every eye shall see Him, and the unbelievers will wail and weep and mourn as the day of reckoning is upon them. Those in unbelief will meet their doom, and as Jesus said, “there (in that place called hell” will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Conclusion:

A. Call to Act/Summary of Message/Application:
A Tale of One Servant (Israel) with Two Possible Destinies (believers into the reward of Messiah’s great Kingdom come on earth; unbelievers ordained to their portion with all the hypocrites of the ages to suffer the eternal fires of hell in outer darkness forever)
Therefore, Be Faithful & Wise with Jesus’ Words: Be Ready, Reliable, and Richly Rewarded
The inevitable conclusion is that, when he comes, Jesus Christ can find us employed in no better and greater task than in doing our duty. In the words of a spiritual:
There’s a king and a captain high,
And he’s coming by and by,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
You can hear his legions charging in the regions of the sky,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
There’s a man they thrust aside,
Who was tortured till he died,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
He was hated and rejected,
He was scorned and crucified,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
When he comes! When he comes!
He’ll be crowned by saints and angels when he comes.
They’ll be shouting out Hosanna! to the man that men denied,
And I’ll kneel among my cotton when he comes.
If [God’s] people are doing their duty, however simple that duty may be, on the day Christ comes there will be joy for them. [Barclay, NDSB]
B. Gospel Invitation:
Don’t Be Foolish with Jesus’ Promises: Living for Self and Sin hurts others, and ends in a terrible surprise of unparalleled torment forever.
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